University students react to proposed ordinance to control parties

ASUO President Ben Eckstein, Vice President Katie Taylor, Mayor Kitty Piercy and Eugene City Council member Alan Zelenka met Friday to discuss details regarding the social host ordinance. @@[email protected]@ @@[email protected]@

The ordinance is aimed to serve both as a deterrent to large parties and as a solution to offset growing party-related costs to Eugene. Under the current version drafted by the Neighborhood Livability Work Group, hosts of social gatherings with five or more people which instigate a police response for either a noise or alcohol-related complaint will be charged with a $500 fine.

Students may also be held accountable for the cost of law enforcement responses, and a landlord may choose to evict the student, if multiple offenses occur.

Council member Alan Zelenka is in support of the ordinance. According to University student Molly Bennison, who was in attendance at the meeting Friday, Zelenka believes students should be held to a standard and should not see themselves as visitors in Eugene but as full-time residents. @@*[email protected]@

Bennison said ASUO leadership voiced concerns regarding the severity of the fine, saying it would hurt the student economy.

University senior Anthony Buckles lives on East 19th Avenue and Alder Street in a neighborhood with a mix of students and nonstudent Eugene residents. He believes the intentions of the ordinance are valid, but the repercussions of the fine are unfair to students. @@*[email protected]@

“I truly understand why the city is trying to do this because I myself live next to very loud neighbors,” he said. “I could see (the fine) being justified if the cops are visiting the same house multiple times, but a fine for a first-time offense is too harsh.”

According to Bennison, Mayor Piercy was committed to exploring alternative options to the fine, such as a warning system or community service.

Bennison said a sunset clause was also discussed, which would limit the law to one full year of action. After the year passes, members from the University and the city would reconvene and analyze the current condition of the ordinance.

University junior Jade Budden believes an ordinance is not necessary to keep parties under control. @@*[email protected]@

“The first thing my roommates and I did when we moved in was to introduce ourselves to our neighbors,” Budden said. “We gave them our numbers and asked them to call us before they call the police if they had issues with noise or other problems with our house parties.”

Budden said if more students tried to build respect with their neighbors, partying wouldn’t be as big of an issue.

“Problems arise when the party-throwers have a lack of respect for their neighbors and don’t think that their parties are affecting people around them,” Budden said.

The Eugene City Council will hold its first work session Monday night to discuss the ordinance.

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John Goodwin

John Goodwin